Nouni, Outbound to Brazil

100 DAYS

I can not believe how fast this exchange is passing by and how fast I'm learning my host language. Within 100 days of living in Brazil I have achieved a level of fluency that allows me to smoothly communicate and understand what is going on around me. Exchange truly brings out the true version of yourself because you get the chance to start with a blank slate with whatever version of yourself you choose to be. I have had crazy and adventurous days that will always be imprinted in my memories and bring a smile to my face but I have also had many normal days that have made my exchange what it is. Moments like sitting in the kitchen with my host mom and having a conversation about my day or car rides with my Brazilian best friend that always end up with us eating Acai or the sing alongs after family lunches at grandmas house that bring the entire family together. These are moments that have molded me into a different person, into a happier person, into a Brazilian by heart.

A part of exchange is making mistakes and bursting into laughter days or months later after remembering what you've done. At first I was afraid to speak my host language in fear of messing up and being made fun of but after I started communicating with people, no matter how wrong my grammar was, I started to make stronger connections with people and they genuinely wanted to help me learn their language. Very common exchange student things is mixing up similar sounding words. This one time after practice my teammates and I decided to get some Acai and as I was ordering mine I asked for "leite em pau" instead of "leite em po". "Pau" is the Portuguese word for penis, so you can see where that went. Another time I tried asking my guy friend for a ride home which is "carona" but I asked if he could give me a "carinho" which is "affection" in Portuguese. Of course at the moment I was confused and my face turned red but these are all memorable moments I will always remember and laugh at.

I full heartedly believe that your exchange is what you make it out to be. Starting with how close you get with your host family, to how hard you try to speak your host language, to the extracurricular activities you participate in. The fact that my host mom knows exactly what I'm thinking without me saying anything shows how close we have gotten in the past 100 days. The mere thought of leaving my first host family brings tears to my eyes. You can live in the same city as another exchange student, with the same family, go to the same school and still have a completely different exchange. I am lucky enough to have made many Brazilian friends from various background that have all taught me various different aspects of Brazilian life. I look forward to seeing where this exchange takes me.

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